In Memory of Precious

Birds of the Month, December 2003
By Eleanor McCaffrey Copyright Notice: No portion of this text or photos
may be, copied, printed or reproduced without
permission from site owner.

This month we were planning on doing something special for the holidays like we did last year. We were going to feature just 1 very special bird named Precious. This was decided 3-1/2 months ago when Precious was born. It was going to be a joyful, happy story about a little disabled bird and a living angel named Tracey. Precious went through a series of the medical procedures to correct a birth defect in his leg. He was thriving under the devotion, tender love and nurturing care that Tracey gave to him.

I received a heartbreaking phone call from Tracey on November 19, 2003. Precious had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly with no signs of distress or illness. He was only 3-1/2 months old. Even with great sorrow and a deep sense of loss, Tracey and I decided that the story about Precious be featured anyway. We hope it will touch the hearts of all bird owners, reminding them to cherish their birds every, single day of their life and to always treat their birds with patience, love, kindness and respect. Our babies need more than a clean cage, fresh water, a healthy diet and medical care. They need our time, companionship, love and commitment.

Tracey was shocked and surprised when her cockatiels, Baby and Jezzabel, decided to breed. Jezzabel was sitting on the cage floor huddled in a corner and laid an egg. Tracey immediately put up a nesting box to make Jezzabel more comfortable. In July 2003, the eggs began to hatch. Three wonderful and beautiful babies were born, Primo, Peanut and Precious. Primo and Peanut looked normal but Tracy noticed that there was something different about one of Precious' little legs. It was not tucked in close to his body like his other leg. This one was sticking out sideways like the wing of an airplane. She soon learned that Precious had a condition known as Splayed Legs. Splayed Legs is not an uncommon problem with babies and in most cases it's correctable with treatment. If you look closely at this photo, you can see the little splint on Precious' leg and see how he is covering his head with his tiny wing. Some of the causes of Splayed Legs include a skeletal deformity, the parents nesting too tight on the clutch of babies, slippery nesting material that doesn't allow the baby's toes to get a good grip on the floor and nutritional deficiencies. 

Tracey took Precious to an avian vet when he was  2 weeks old and the splint pictured above was put on his leg. With great disappointment, Tracey learned that the splint didn't work and Precious would require surgery to place a pin in his hip. Precious was only 7 weeks old. After the surgery, Precious had his leg in a little blue cast for 4 weeks. When the cast was finally removed, Tracey and her avian vet had to wait for the swelling to go down in Precious' leg. With great hope, Precious was expected to be able to stand and perch. One week later, Tracey learned that the surgery had not been successful. Precious would never be able to perch, stand, walk or fly like other birds.

Tracey said, "During the past few months, my little angel had been through a lot. He has had appointments with the avian veterinarian almost every other week since he was only two weeks. I would do whatever it took to make him happy. Precious had an amazing spirit though all of this. He was always hungry and happy to see his mommy coming with food. I pulled him from Baby and Jezebel at two weeks old and took care of him since. It was a lot of work, but truly a joy. Precious loved to cuddle up with his Booda Buddy or with me on my pillow each night. He knew that this was his special time with mommy. Precious always made me smile when I saw those two big eyes looking up at me. It is very hard for me to say good morning to all of my babies when one is not here. I can still hear his little chirp and see his beautiful eyes when I close mine. It gives me peace though to know that my little angel is soaring high above the clouds now, being able to fly. He will always be in my heart and in the hearts of all of those who met him and came to love him so much."

NOTE:Splayed Legs can be caused by the parents sitting too tightly on the babies, a slippery nest bottom, skeletal deformities, nutritional deficiencies, genetic factors as well as other reasons. To help prevent splayed legs, use shredded white paper towels as nesting material instead of cedar or pine chips. This will give the babies a firm grip on the floor of the nestbox.

In Memory of Precious

There is 1 More Page About Precious
CLICK HERE For Precious Page 2


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